BY JEFF FALK
ANNVILLE – Playoff baseball.
A four hosting a five.
No errors on either side.
So how close was it? About one full step.
On a warm Monday evening at Lebanon Valley College’s McGill Field, Jeremy Seyfert’s infield single with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning lifted Annville-Cleona to a 1-0 victory over Brandywine Heights, in the opening round of the District Three Class AAA baseball playoffs. Seyfert legged out a deep ground ball to shortstop to score Drew Long from third base.
It was a dramatic ending to a well-played, tightly-contested pitchers’ duel of a high-school playoff game. For fourth-seeded Annville-Cleona, now 14-6-1 overall, it was its seventh straight appearance in the District Three postseason.
The Little Dutchmen will take on top-seeded Biglerville in Thursday’s semifinal round of the Class AAA tournament, at a time and site to be determined. A win there would qualify Annville-Cleona for the upcoming PIAA Class AAA playoffs.
Fifth-seeded Brandywine Heights concluded its campaign at 10-9.
“It was terrific,” beamed Annville-Cleona head coach Mike Miller. “Both teams played awesome. We had opportunities earlier, but we just didn’t get the key hit. This was playoff baseball.
“I feel bad for them (the Bullets),” continued Miller. “We’ve lost games like that. I’m just glad we’re on this side of it.”
Neither team deserved to lose.
Annville-Cleona’s decisive rally in the bottom of the eighth started innocently enough – with two outs and nobdy on. With Brandywine Heights starter Joseph Fatzinger nearing his pitch limitation, Drew Long started it with a single, then twin brother Adam Long followed with a flair to right field that put D. Long on third.